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Archive for August, 2008

Jamont Gordon Says Arrivederci America, Ciao to Italy – Charles Rhodes Too?

Posted by Kyle Weidie on August 27, 2008

Jamont Gordon is headed to Basket City, otherwise known as Bologna, Italy, to pursue his hoop dreams. As first reported on the Clarion-Ledger’s MSU blog, via an August 23rd team press release (you might need the Google Translator), Gordon will be suiting up for Fortitudo Pallacanestro Bologna, also known as UPIM Bologna after its chain department store sponsor.

While Bologna will be vastly different than Starkville, Gordon will still be apart of an intense rivalry à la Mississippi State and Ole Miss. Fortitudo, known for attracting top American talent, has a traditional rivalry with Virtus, also based in Bologna. Both teams consistently compete for the Italian Cup, and the Euroleague title. Hence, the enthusiasm denizens of Bologna are known for gives the city its moniker of Basket City.

Currently Qyntel Woods, of Northeast Mississippi Community College and pit-bull fighting/NBA trouble fame, is on the roster of Fortitudo. Joe Forte, of infamous NBA bust fame, and the poster child for not leaving college early (hey, at least Forte was drafted when he mistakenly left North Carolina after two years), is also on the team.

Notable Fortitudo alumni include Auburn’s Moochie Norris, UCLA’s Tyus Edney, current Chicago Bulls coach, Vinny Del Negro, and Dominique Wilkins, among dozens of other players who are either currently in the NBA or have spent time playing college or professional ball in the United States.

But What About Charles Rhodes?

The latest report from the Clarion-Ledger’s Kyle Veazey is that neither reaching out to Rhodes’ agent, nor text messaging Charles himself, has provided any newsworthy results.

However, another site, tuttobasket.net, which offers a hodgepodge of coverage for European/Italian basketball, cites an August 18th article from La Repubblica, Italy’s largest circulation newspaper, which insinuates that Rhodes is in negotiations to team up with Jamont Gordon on Fortitudo. (Once again, you’ll need the Google Translator.)

The most interesting quote about Jamont Gordon from the translation: “In any case, an element can create from scratch game well, although to date the first for himself and later for others.”

So while it looks like Jamont Gordon has gotten himself an Italian job, Charles Rhodes is in a wait-and-see situation. Stay tuned……

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Posted in bulldogs overseas, charles rhodes, jamont gordon, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, sec basketball, SEC Sports, starkville | 2 Comments »

The Awesomeness of the ESPN-SEC Deal

Posted by Kyle Weidie on August 26, 2008

Living on the East Coast, my thirst for SEC sports has been left unquenched for years. Unfortunately, I’ve been surrounded by the ACC, Big East, and other coverage of the Big 10 (11), and even Pac-10. Sure there have been options such as the ESPN Game Plan. However, jumping through hoops and having to pay money for easy access to the best conference in college sports seems a tad unjust.

In steps in the worldwide leader in sports, ESPN. Sure, the WWL has a monopolization on sports media coverage and uses that to push their own biased agenda. But there’s no getting around it, they are the best. ESPN gets the top talent, is a leader in media technology, and provides viewers with the essentials of sports analysis.

You can read the full press release from secsports.com, but here are some highlights:

Basketball

  • ESPN and ESPN2 will TRIPLE their coverage. So, not just Super Tuesday, but also Thursday and Saturday games.
  • More prominence for the SEC/Big East Challenge. (Remember how lame it was last year with only four games?)
  • More coverage on ESPNU, ESPN360.com, ESPN Classic (vintage SEC games and instant classics!), and ABC, among the other ESPN outlets.
  • SEC Tournament semifinals and finals nationally televised on ESPN/ABC.

Football

  • ESPN will have the rights to every SEC home game.
  • ESPN and ESPN2 will televise a minimum of 20 games during the season.
  • Supplemental coverage on ESPNU, ESPN Classic, etc.

Other

  • All SEC championship games except football will be aired on either ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN on ABC, ESPNU or ESPN Classic.
  • ESPN and the SEC will work together to offer multi-sport packages (including football, men’s and women’s basketball, Olympic sports and conference championships).

Overall, I could not be more excited. The 15-year, $2.25 billion deal will be quite the economic boon for each member organization. Facilities will improve and recruiting against other conferences will get better, which will lead to trickle-down upgrades for academics.

The Sports Business Journal reports that the current $5.3 million doled out to each of the 12 SEC member schools from television rights could increase over 283% to $15 million per year. Just imagine what this would mean for a school such as Mississippi State, which currently operates with a $32 million athletic budget, the lowest in the conference.

So pop the cork on the champagne, it’s time for a celebration….the Southeastern Conference is coming to ESPN.

Posted in arkansas razorbacks, auburn tigers, espn, florida gators, georgia bulldogs, kentucky wildcats, lsu tigers, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, ncaa football, sec basketball, sec football, SEC Sports, south carolina gamecocks, southeastern conference, tennessee volunteers, vanderbilt commodores | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Countdown to 6:45 PM on Saturday

Posted by Kyle Weidie on August 25, 2008

Why 6:45 pm (eastern)? Well, that’s when the Mississippi State Bulldogs open their 2008-2008 football season against the Louisiana Tech University Bulldogs in Ruston, Louisiana on ESPN2.

The August 30th meeting will mark the first time an SEC school has traveled to the northern Louisiana town since 1913. And as outlined in this Clarion-Ledger article, the college town of 20,000 plus is buzzing. Louisiana Tech athletic officials are hoping to break their 28,714 attendance record and have raised normal ticket prices from the range of $8-$22 to $40.

You can also check out the Clarion-Ledger for a game preview. The quick run down, La Tech’s offense will be decent (8 returning starters), but their defense will be far below par. This bodes well for a MSU Bulldog offense which has struggled in practice leading up to the season. Mississippi State’s defense should take care of business, even without all-SEC performer, Derek Pegues, who was suspended for the opener for not going to class.

Most betting sites have the Bulldogs favored by either 8 or 8.5 points with the over/under being set at 45.5.

My prediction: Mississippi State 34, Louisiana Tech 17

As far as season predictions: Rick Cleveland and Kyle Veazy, both of the Clarion-Ledger, each have Mississippi State going 7-5.  Gregg Ellis, of the NE Miss. Daily Journal, ups his outlook to 8-4.

Personally, I think 7-5 is a cake walk. I’m slightly pessimistic about eight wins…..because let’s be honest, this is Mississippi State Football….something will go wrong. Of course, I’m optimistic that Sylvester Croom has finally changed the culture. How much? Well, we will have a good read by late Saturday evening.

GO DAWGS!

Posted in louisiana tech, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa football, sec football, sylvester croom | Leave a Comment »

MSU Bulldog Basketball Ranked #96 in the Country, or #36

Posted by Kyle Weidie on August 21, 2008

Well, the former ranking in the title of this post is according to collegehoopsnet, where they are previewing the top 144 NCAA basketball teams in the nation at the rate of one per day in descending order. More on the latter ranking, later.

Yesterday, the preview for the Mississippi State Bulldogs basketball team came out, ranking them 96th in the nation and 9th in the SEC. The author, Joel Welser, has a well educated breakdown of the Bulldogs. However, as you can tell by his ranking, Welser doesn’t think MSU will do much in the upcoming season. I can’t blame his assessment.

With the departures of Jamont Gordon and Charles Rhodes, leaving the “playing” squad with one senior (a transfer from Louisville who first played for MSU last year), three juniors (one of whom is a Juco transfer), five sophomores (one redshirted his first year), and three freshmen (two attended prep school), Coach Rick Stansbury will spend a lot of time blindly sticking his arm into a mixed bag of tricks during the 08-09 season.

Nothing could better illustrate that Bulldog fans will not know what to expect from their basketball team than the fact that, in contrast to collegehoopsnet, ESPN’s Dick Vitale has ranked Mississippi State #36 in his preseason top 40. Dickie V claims that the Dawgs would be in the top 20 if Gordon had stayed in school.

There’s no doubt that the Bulldogs will be guard/wing heavy and will not be able to survive a significant injury to the nation’s leading shot blocker, Jarvis Varnado, lone senior Brian Johnson, sophomore big Elgin Bailey, or even 6’8″ freshman Romero Osby. Which begs the question, with Charles Rhodes being a senior this past season, and thus, his departure was impending, why is the Bulldog front court set up to be so thin? I suppose the 6’8″, 220 pound Kobi Augustus could play some at the four spot. However, no Bulldog is taller than 6’9″.

There will be plenty of time in the future for preseason analysis and breakdowns, but I just wanted to get down some quick thoughts on how the returning leading scorer for the Bulldogs needs to improve.

Barry Stewart
Personally, I think MSU will be in trouble if Stewart has to play a lot of point, a possibility mentioned in the collegehoopsnet breakdown. But when the other main options are Dee Bost, a freshman, and Riley Bennock, a soph who I’m not sure has the moxie to be an SEC PG (hopefully he proves me wrong), I’m not sure Stansbury will always have much of a choice.

The Bulldogs need Stewart to be a Timmy Bowers type shooter……who did actually backup Derrick Zimmerman at the point at times during his tenure, and started at PG during his 03-04 senior year, when he was supplanted by Gary Ervin off the bench.

Between his freshman and sophomore years, Stewart’s minutes increased by 47.5% to 35.7 per game. He took 12 more 3-pointers, but made six less, dropping his 3P% by 5.8 points to 33.3%. Sure as a frosh, Stewart mostly had to worry about coming off the bench and hovering around the perimeter….evidenced by the fact that 59.6% of his points came from treys in year one versus 47.5% in year two. But why did his sophomore year seem to fall short of expectations? Many theorists would pin blame on the point guard skills of Jamont Gordon. I’ll only say that as great of a player he was, Gordon was not the ideal PG, rather one with whom Stansbury made due.

In terms of Stewart, I’m not as concerned that turnovers per game increased from 0.8 to 2.3, because not only did his minutes go up as mentioned, but he shared a greater responsibility in ball-handling duties as well, resulting from the absence of the Delk twins.

The greatest hope is for Barry to get back the shooting touch which built so many expectations after his All-SEC Freshman 06-07 Bulldog debut. If Stewart can extend defenses, look for opposing zones to become befuddled and those such as Ravern Johnson to have a field day. Hopefully, Barry will be able to improve the consistency of his shooting stroke while rehabilitating the broken ankle which occurred during a pick-up game earlier in the summer.

Posted in mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, sec basketball, SEC Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

MSU Bulldog Football On CBS?

Posted by Kyle Weidie on August 18, 2008

Somehow CBS has accidentally leaked their SEC football broadcast schedule for this upcoming season….not sure why it must be a “leak” or an “accident” – CBS typically doesn’t announce the games they will televise until around 10 days before the match-up.

Nonetheless, Saturdays in the South seems to have stumbled onto something, and Deadspin is trying to confirm.

The Mississippi State Bulldogs only appear once on this supposedly tentative schedule….it’s the November 22nd date with Arkansas in Starkville. The caveat is that Ole Miss @ LSU and Tennessee @ Vanderbilt also appear as televised possibilities on the same date.

Right now, the Bulldogs only have three televised games on the schedule: the August 30 opener at Louisiana Tech (ESPN2) , the September 13 matchup versus Auburn in Starkville (ESPN2), and the November 28 finale against Ole Miss in Oxford (Raycom).

Let’s hope that Miss. State remains relevant up until that second to last game versus Arkansas. It’d be nice for Coach Croom and his Bulldogs to be broadcast into the living rooms of fans and potential recruits alike.

Posted in arkansas razorbacks, auburn tigers, louisiana tech, lsu tigers, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa football, ole miss rebels, sec football, starkville, sylvester croom, tennessee volunteers, vanderbilt commodores | Leave a Comment »

Chris Low Down and the Mississippi State Bulldogs

Posted by Kyle Weidie on August 18, 2008

Chris Low, who writes ESPN.com’s SEC Blog, has been making his way around the South writing a series of features for conference member schools in anticipation of the upcoming football season.

On such feature was on DE Tim Bailey, who served an 18-month assignment with the National Guard, spending a year in Iraq, before suiting up for the Bulldogs. Hopefully Bailey’s perspective on life will rub off on his teammates.

“It was pretty rough over there,” Bailey said. “When you have bad days over here, they really don’t seem so bad.”

Bailey may be apart of an upcoming $450 million National Guard advertising campaign, the Clarion-Ledger has a piece on his photo shoot experience.

Running back Anthony Dixon left some things on the field last year, don’t expect the case to be the same this time around.

“Sometimes, I’m just out there running. I’m getting the ball and seeing the defense and looking to get bad angles or just run over people. This year, I’m reading the gaps better. It’s like Coach Croom said. I did leave some yards on the field last year by not reading the gap and seeing wide-open holes. I made 4 and 5 yards when I could have gotten 10 or 15.”

Of course, everyone knows that quarterback Wesley Carroll will be the key to potential success for the Bulldogs.

“One of the things we have to be careful about as he grows more confident is still not being a gambler,” Croom said. “We want him to get better with his throwing but also understand, as Clint Eastwood would say, that a man’s got to know his limitations.

Low also kicks it with Bulldog Coach Sylvester Croom with a two-part discussion, click the links below to check them out.

Posted in mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa football, sec football, SEC Sports | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Bulldog Basketballers, Ravern Johnson and Elgin Bailey, Kick It In The Dominican Republic

Posted by Kyle Weidie on August 12, 2008

Mississippi State Bulldog basketball fans may remember that last summer Jarvis Varnado and Phil Turner took a week long tour playing basketball in Argentina with Score International. Well, this summer, Ravern Johnson and Elgin Bailey made a similar trip with Score to the Dominican Republic.

Hopefully, Johnson and Bailey will follow in the footsteps of Varnado, who led the nation in blocked shots this past season and upped his summer competition to the likes of Chris Paul and LeBron James, but hopefully not in the footsteps of Phil Turner, who was recently arrested for disorderly conduct.

According to the Score International site, the American team faced off against the Dominican national squad, featuring Al Horford (former Florida Gator and current Atlanta Hawk),  Francisco Garcia (former Louisville Cardinal and current Sacramento King), and Larry Turner (former Tennessee State Tiger and current Los Angeles Laker). The game was broadcast on Dominican national television, and even though the Score team lost 77-49, MSU’s Ravern Johnson led his team with 17 points.

In game two, the Score team won in the capital city of San Domingo 67-65. Johnson scored 13 points, while Bailey put in some work in the paint with eight rebounds.

Game three brought another match-up against tough competition as Score faced the Dominican National “B” team. They were once again defeated, but put up a better fight, losing 73-68. You could actually say that the Score team got gypped. Evidently down three points with 12 seconds left, and the ball, a whistle blew from the stands, causing confusion, and thus a turnover. Guess you really can’t play until you hear the whistle.

In the end, great experience on the court and off for these two young Bulldogs which will hopefully carry over into the upcoming season and further down the road in their lives.

Speaking of Varnado…..

Storming the Court recently wondered who would play if the US Men’s Basketball Olympic Committee reverted to sending college players to compete instead of NBA players. Jarvis Varnado was dubbed among those who would be apart of the front court.

In my opinion, this sounds great and all…..but let’s never send college players to the Olympics again. With the days of one-and-done and early entries, how on earth would you be able to truly get the best college age players?  Other countries will continue to send their best, let’s continue to send our best.

Charles Rhodes

Nothing much happening since the interview with Dallas Dedicated. But, I wanted to recap what some outlets (and Mavericks personnel) have said about Rhodes:

Mavs Courtside View

Charles Rhodes isn’t a training camp lock. The rugged forward is mulling over various European offers and hasn’t committed to a tryout with the Mavs yet.

But the Mississippi State product has impressed everyone so far.

“We see Rhodes as an athletic, tenacious 4-5 type that can shoot the mid-range shot and is a very good rebounder,” Rick Carlisle said.

Rhodes (6-8, 245) averaged nearly 10 points and 5 boards during summer league, and shot 62 percent. Rhodes has been compared favorably to Brandon Bass, last year’s summer league find.

Ft. Worth Star-Telegram – “Mavericks have two roster spots available”

Nelson said Charles Rhodes, a bruising 6-8, 245-pound forward from Mississippi State, and JaJuan Smith, a 6-2 guard from Tennessee, will likely be invited to fall training camp.

“Rhodes is real athletic and showed really good promise,” Nelson said. “Smith is a guy we have our eye on. The rest are open for discussion.”

Posted in bulldogs in nba, charles rhodes, elgin bailey, jarvis varnado, mississippi state bulldogs, olympic basketball, ravern johnson, sec basketball | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

MSU Bulldogs & Mavericks: an interview with Dallas Dedicated

Posted by Kyle Weidie on August 7, 2008

Dallas Dedicated is a blog which is, well, dedicated to Dallas sports. We’ve been following some of their excellent coverage of Charles Rhodes, who, as you should be well aware, was apart of the Mavs summer league squad, and by most accounts, impressed the Dallas brass with his ability. It remains to be seen if Rhodes will make the Mavericks squad, much less get a training camp invite. In any case, the guys at Dallas Dedicated agreed to be the latter part of a Q&A session about Rhodes, and another former Bulldog, and current Mav, Erick Dampier.

Erick Dampier

——————–

I’ve read where Charles Rhodes is likely to be invited to training camp, but is not a lock. What do you think?
I think that as long as he does not decide to go to Europe, he is a lock for camp. Hopefully he doesn’t chase that very enticing Euro. He has gone from being a forgotten and un-drafted rookie to a guy with a legitimate shot at being in the rotation on a title contending Dallas Mavericks team.

Does the presence of Brandon Bass (an SEC product out of LSU) hurt Rhodes’ chances? The Mavericks offered Bass and Jerry Stackhouse to Sacramento for Ron Artest, but the Kings chose to send Ronnie to another team in Texas, which will lead to my next question……
Bass and Rhodes are very similar, which in the long run could end up hurting one or the other–obviously at this point most likely Rhodes. But last season, the front line was very thin and another Bass-like player could do nothing but help. One thing that critics say hurts the Mavs team is that they do not have enough tough inside presence, which Charles Rhodes can definitely help provide.

What’s Bass’ trade value and are you willing to give him up? If it’s your opinion that the Mavs must make a move to get back to the NBA Finals, what would be a reasonably hypothetical dream trade scenario?
Obviously, if the right deal came about, we would have to part ways with Bass. He still has a lot of potential and could develop into a very good player, but he still will play behind Dirk. A strong two-guard with nice range would be about the only offer for Bass that could improve the team…especially if Rhodes proved he could take Bass’ spot.

Jason Kidd should be much better under Rick Carlisle–freedom to do what he does best: run the break. That should cover the one, three (Howard) and four (Dirk) spots. A move like Terry/Stackhouse and a reserve for someone like Corey Maggette or Monta Ellis would be solid. Ideally, an upcoming free agent after this season (LeBron, Wade, etc.) would be a finals-clinching pick up. Then the only weakness would be at the five. Good centers are a rare commodity, and if Diop and Damp can play strong together, then that would be an ideal squad. But, the fact alone that we offered Bass in a trade for Artest shows that the Mavericks organization thinks of him as expendable.

From watching Rhodes, what’s your opinion of his NBA-level strengths and weaknesses?
He shoots a very high percentage, and even has a pretty decent mid range jumper. Though he is relatively short for a power forward, he rebounds adequately, similar to Bass. His post defense has been impressive, but he is not a big shot blocker and can get in foul trouble quickly. His biggest improvement will need to be overall basketball IQ, which many rookies need work with. He is a very raw scorer, and can easily be molded into a power force. He has nothing but potential, which I know Rick Carlisle and the Mavs assistants could turn into more strengths.

James Singleton or Charles Rhodes: who do you pick? (factoring in Singleton’s guaranteed contract)
Charles Rhodes and James Singleton are too much alike to give both contracts too, especially when factoring in that Brandon Bass will already consume most of the backup power forward minutes. While Singleton’s contract is guaranteed, GM Donnie Nelson has already made it clear that buying out a player’s contract that is guaranteed is not out of the question. Also, Singleton is coming off major knee surgery and has had multiple shots at the NBA-level. Rhodes over Singleton easily.

The Mavs have another Mississippi State product in Erick Dampier, who led the Bulldogs to the Final Four in 1996. What do you like, and dislike about his game? Was signing him to a 7-year, $63 million contract in ’04 a mistake? Is Erick Dampier a center the Mavs can win a championship with? And, are we looking at a time-share at center between Big Damp and the returned DeSagana Diop?
Dampier is an up and down player. He doesn’t have to score a lot of points, and gets a lot of buckets from working the offensive glass. When he wants to be, Damp is one of the best rebounders in the league, especially on the offensive end. Also, his scoring has improved since Jason Kidd’s arrival. However, he tends to get into early foul trouble too often and sometimes plays soft. While Dallas let Steve Nash go and used the money saved to sign Erick Dampier, his contract in ’04 was not a mistake. He was coming off of a career year of (12 points and 12 rebounds per game in ’03) and the Mavs had been lacking a good center for many years (see Shawn Bradley).

The way Dallas is most effective is a split between Damp and Diop. This eliminates the worry of foul trouble and they are able to play tougher defense. Together, when on their games, they can rival many centers in the league, and proved it in the ’06 Finals run. Damp did not have any competition for minutes after Diop was traded, and having Diop back will motivate Damp to play and practice hard or else Diop becomes the starter. Not many teams have two legitimate centers, and I believe the Mavericks have that again with the signing of Diop.

——————–

And there it is….many thanks to the guys at Dallas Dedicated.

Posted in bulldogs in nba, charles rhodes, erick dampier, mississippi state bulldogs, nba, nba draft | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Still Waiting on Mississippi State Basketball Schedule, SEC Slate Out

Posted by Kyle Weidie on August 6, 2008

While the full Bulldog basketball schedule is expected to be released any day and/or minute now, the SEC slate is out and ready to be analyzed.

@ Arkansas – Saturday, Jan. 10

Alabama – Wednesday, Jan. 14

Vanderbilt – Saturday, Jan. 17

@ LSU – Wednesday, Jan. 21

@ Georgia – Saturday, Jan. 24 (ESPN/ESPN2)

Ole Miss – Saturday, Jan. 31 (Raycom)

@ Kentucky – Tuesday, Feb. 3 (Raycom)

Arkansas – Saturday, Feb. 7 (Raycom)

LSU – Wednesday, Feb. 11

@ Auburn – Saturday, Feb. 14

South Carolina – Wednesday, Feb. 18

@ Alabama (Raycom) – Saturday, Feb. 21

@ Tennessee – Wednesday, Feb. 25 (Raycom)

Auburn – Saturday, Feb. 28

Florida – Wednesday, Mar. 4 (Raycom)

@ Ole Miss – Saturday, Mar. 7

At first glance, it’s not too bad. Every game is tough in the SEC, but match-ups with the expected upper echelon teams seem to be evenly dispersed….kinda.

The Run-Down:

  • The Bulldogs open and close the season on the road.
  • The off week comes in week six, after two games on the road (@ LSU and @ UGA), and before a big game at home versus Ole Miss.
  • Senior Night against Florida will be tough (looks like Brian Johnson will be the lone Bulldog honoree).
  • Playing at Ole Miss on their Senior Night will be tougher.
  • Easiest Stretch: Mid-February (Ark., LSU, @ Aub., USC)
  • Roughest Stretch: Last 5 games (@ Bama, @ UT, Aub., UF, @ Ole Miss)
  • Best case scenario prediction: 9-7

Posted in auburn tigers, Bulldog Basketball, mississippi state bulldogs, sec basketball, SEC Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Mississippi State Bulldog Football Overtime

Posted by Kyle Weidie on August 6, 2008

No, this post will not cover the history of Bulldog football over time, rather, the overtime history of Bulldog football.

SECFootballBlogger.com recently posted a YouTube video of the top 5 SEC overtime games of all time. Here’s the list [which looks to be compiled by SECTV, not SECFootballBlogger]:

5. Tennessee vs. LSU 2005
4. Arkansas vs. Ole Miss 2001
3. Georgia vs. Auburn 1996
2. Arkansas vs. Kentucky 2003
1. LSU vs. Kentucky 2007

Which naturally got me wondering about the Bulldogs and overtime. In case you don’t know, the OT rule for the NCAA was implemented in 1996. A list of all NCAA OT games since has been compiled by Dr. Peter A. Rosen and is posted here.

Here are the games in which Mississippi State has been involved:

  • Nov. 23, 1996 – Starkville – MSU 13 – Arkansas 16
  • Oct. 21, 2000 – Baton Rouge – MSU 38 – LSU 45
    (I was at this game, quite the trip.)
  • Nov. 18, 2000 – Starkville – MSU 10 – Arkansas 17
  • Dec. 31, 2000 – Independence Bowl – MSU 43 – Texas A&M 41
    (The Snow Bowl!)
  • Sept. 23, 2006 – Birmingham – MSU 16 – UAB 10

2-3 in all OT games.
0-3 in SEC OT games.
1-3 in regular season OT games.
1- 0 in bowl OT games.

And that’s the history, over time.

On another note, Chris Low (SEC Football Blogger on ESPN.com) puts the Bulldogs at #9 in his SEC Power Rankings, he says:

The first four games are critical for the Bulldogs. They have to find a way to come out of those four at least 3-1. It remains to be seen if Mississippi State has enough offensive playmakers to match last season’s success.

I’d love to be more optimistic, but I think the Dawgs will go 2-2 during the opening four game stretch. Hopefully, Coach Croom’s team will take care of, but not underestimate, Louisiana Tech and Southeastern Louisiana in the first two games. Auburn will be a big test in game three, but at least it’s at home. The wildcard is the game at Georgia Tech on September 20th.

In the USA Today Preseason Coaches Poll, the Bulldogs get six votes among the “others” (essentially ranking MSU 41st in the nation) while Georgia Tech receives two (ranked #50). Even though the matchup is in Atlanta, I suspect the Bulldog faithful will have a strong presence in the ATL. Combine that with general lack of support for the Yellow Jackets makes me revert from my prediction, feeling that 3-1 in the first four games in highly attainable.

GO DAWGS!!

Posted in arkansas razorbacks, auburn tigers, georgia tech, louisiana tech, lsu tigers, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa football, sec football, southeastern louisiana, starkville, sylvester croom | 1 Comment »

Remembering Jeff Malone’s Basketball Career, a Mississippi State Bulldog Great

Posted by Kyle Weidie on August 2, 2008

Jeff Malone 76ers

After a very distinguished career at Mississippi State, Jeff Malone went on to have a 13-year NBA career with four different teams: the Washington Bullets, Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat. Known to be deadly from mid-range, Malone was running around the court and off screens before Reggie Miller spawned it into an art form, and much before Richard Hamilton made a living at it. He also had a knack for off-balanced shots, making him even tougher to defend.

Back in March, Gregg Ellis of the NE Mississippi Daily Journal (and his Inside Mississippi State Sports blog) briefly caught up with Malone who is now living in Chandler, Arizona (a suburb of Phoenix) and owning his own fuel distribution company. Here’s to remembering the accolades and basketball career of Jeff Malone.

Mississippi State Bulldogs

In his four years as a Bulldog in Starkville, Malone amassed over 2,100 points to go along with his 19.5 career scoring average over 110 games. I never had the privilege of seeing him play at “The Hump” in person, but the accounts of others, his career 51.2% from the field, and career 80.9% from the free-throw line, indicate that Malone was quite the pure shooter.

Unfortunately, his Bulldog teams did not fare so well. During Malone’s four year span from ’79-’83, which included the last two seasons of the Jim Hatfield era and the first two seasons of the Bob Boyd era, the Bulldogs had a cumulative record of 46-64 (23-49 in the SEC). The best year by far for both the Bulldogs and Malone was the ’82-’83 season, Malone’s senior campaign, where he led the team to a 17-12 record (9-9 SEC) with a 26.8 ppg average (2nd in the nation). However, this did not result in post-season play for Mississippi State.

Just imagine the numbers Jeff Malone might have put up had he not been in Bob Boyd’s slowed down offense. In ’81-’82, the Bulldogs averaged 49.5 points per game. With Malone’s 18.6 ppg that season, he was responsible for 37.6% of the Bulldogs scoring load. Team scoring improved in ’82-’83 to the tune of 69 points per game. With his 26.8 ppg that season, Jeff Malone was still responsible for 38.8% of Mississippi State’s scoring.

One of the few winning highlights Jeff Malone experienced prior to his senior year, was a game against the Kentucky Wildcats in Starkville on January 27th, 1982. Combined with a stifling Bulldog zone defense, Malone scored 16 points, along with his teammate, Butch Pierre, who chipped in 15, to upset Kentucky 56-51. This win broke the Bulldogs’ 17-game SEC losing streak, which spanned over two seasons.

The awards Jeff Malone accumulated while at Mississippi State included ’82-’93 All-American (Sporting News 1st team, NABC 3rd team, Basketball Times 5th team); 1st team SEC (AP) once and 2nd team twice (SEC POY in ’82-’83); ’83 SEC all-tournament team; and NABC All-District (two times 1st team, one time 2nd). Malone still holds Bulldog records for most points in a season (777), points in a career (2142), FG made in a season (323), FG in a career (906), most minutes played in a career (3851), and average minutes per game over a career (35.0).

The NBA: Washington Bullets

Jeff Malone’s collegiate credentials led him to being selected 10th overall by the Washington Bullets in the 1983 NBA Draft. According to the wonderful database at Basketball-Reference, Malone was second in his draft class in career scoring average and career minutes per game, right after Clyde Drexler, who went 14th to the Portland Trailblazers, in both categories.

Malone spent his first seven seasons with the Washington Bullets. As a rookie in ’83-’84, he averaged 12.1 points per game on his way to landing on the all-rookie team, joining Thurl Bailey, Ralph Sampson, Byron Scott, Steve Stipanovich, and Darrell Walker (curious that Clyde the Glide wasn’t on the team…playing behind Jim Paxson, who led the Blazers in scoring with 21.3 ppg that season, didn’t allow Drexler much time on the court).

Some say that Malone couldn’t do much aside from score, but one thing he did do well is take care of the ball. He led the NBA with the lowest turnover percentage (an estimate of turnovers per 100 plays) in his second year, and finished in the top 10 of that category in nine of his 13 seasons in the league. Today, Malone still has the 7th best NBA career turnover percentage.

By year three with the Bullets, Jeff Malone was 6th in the NBA in minutes played, 8th in points scored, and 10th in free-throw percentage on his way to being an All-Star in 1986 and in 1987. Malone will always be remembered most as a Washington Bullet. In fact, Wizards/Bullets blog, Bullets Forever, voted him the 7th best Wizard/Bullet of all time. For more on his career in DC, I’d highly suggest reading Bullets Forever #7: Jeff Malone.

The NBA: Utah Jazz

After the ’89-’90 season, Malone was traded to the Utah Jazz, becoming the “other” Malone, in a three-team deal that had Utah sending Bobby Hansen and Eric Leckner along two draft picks to Sacramento. Pervis Ellison was sent from the Kings to the Bullets, who also sent their 2nd round pick in the ’91 draft to the Kings. The Jazz, seeking more offensive firepower to take focus away from John Stockton, Karl Malone, and Thurl Bailey, found a remedy in Jeff Malone. Over the next three seasons, Malone would serve as the Jazz second leading scorer, to Karl Malone, averaging a hair under 19.0 points per game.

Malone also dropped over 20.0 ppg in the playoffs during his first two years in Utah, playing especially well in the ’92 Western Conference Semi-Finals against the Seattle Sonics with scoring and defense against Ricky Pierce. Jeff Malone averaged 22.4 ppg in the series as Utah went on to win four games to one, the first time in franchise history that the Jazz moved past the second round of the NBA playoffs. Utah would ultimately lose to Portland 4-2 in the conference finals, the Blazers in turn lost to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls in the ’92 NBA Finals.

In the ’94-’95 season, numbers started to fall off for a 32-year old Malone in Utah. He averaged 16.2 ppg, a career low aside from his rookie year, before being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in the middle of the season, along with a conditional 1st round pick, for a 30-year old Jeff Hornacek, Sean Green and a 2nd round pick.

The story goes that Jeff Malone felt under-appreciated, slipped into the doghouse of Utah coach, Jerry Sloan, and that the Jazz simply wanted a shooter with more range. Malone wasn’t exactly known for his distance shooting prowess as he made only 86 three-pointers in his career, an average of 0.1 made per game, with a career 26.8% from deep. In stepped Jeff Hornacek, who also had the ability to fill in for John Stockton at the point when necessary.

Long time Utah Jazz sports announcer, Rod Hundley, wrote about Jeff Malone in his 1998 book, “Hot Rot Hundley: You Gotta Love It Baby,” co-authored with Tom McEachin.

Jeff Malone wasn’t the answer, though. He was a great shooter from 15 feet in but if he wasn’t scoring, he wasn’t helping you. He was smart enough to put the ball in Stockton’s hands, however, because if he got open he knew the ball was coming back…….That’s why everybody likes Stockton. If you make that move, the ball is there and at the right time. So Jeff always worked hard on offense when Stockton was on the court with him.

Jeff was always fading when he shot the ball but he had great control of the shot. Great shooters can do that, shoot off-balance, going toward the hoop, falling backwards, falling left, falling right. He practiced that stuff. A 15-footer was just like a layup for him. Anything from the foul line in was a great shot, and he was great along the baseline too. He could even drift behind the plane of the backboard and make that shot. A lot of guys have to be in front of the hoop looking right down the barrel, but Jeff could shoot just as well from the baseline. He didn’t have the shooting depth, however. He couldn’t shoot the 3-pointer.

The one thing about Jeff Malone was that you could expect him to miss some games every year. It was probably in his contract. He just wasn’t going to play 82 games. He just sat out games, saying his back was hurting or something. He was that kind of a guy. He didn’t have that Stockton-Malone attitude about playing, he just floated though games. I don’t think it bothered him whether he played or not.

The NBA: Philadelphia 76ers & Miami Heat

After the mid-season trade to Philly, Malone suited up on February 26, 1994 for his first game on a 76er team with a 20-34 record. The Sixers would only win five more games that season, while Jeff averaged 16.8 points in 33.4 minutes per game. The combination of a rookie Shawn Bradley, Clarence Weatherspoon, Dana Barros, and a 38-year old Moses Malone wasn’t cutting it for Philly.

The following season (’94-’95), the Philadelphia 76ers were even worse, finishing with a 24-58 record. Malone was limited to just 19 games with a foot injury, placed on the IR by late December, and only appeared in once more game that season, scoring 28 points in a March 22nd affair against the Golden State Warriors.

Malone’s final season in the NBA would come in 95-96 as injuries had taken their toll. His minutes with the Sixers dwindled to 16.3, field goals made below 40%, and points per game to 6.2. Malone played five minutes in his last game in Philly in December of 2006. He was acquired by the Miami Heat in February of ’96, and scored 10 points in 26 minutes off the bench in a six point Miami win over the Denver Nuggets. However, Malone would only play six more games for the Heat, and played his final NBA game on February 25, 1996.

Jeff Malone retired from the NBA tallying over 17,000 points (his total currently puts him at 68th most in NBA history), playing in 905 games, while shooting a career 48.4% from the field, and 87.1% from the free-throw line, which is good enough to rank him 18th best over an NBA career.

Post NBA Play

In January of 1997, Malone signed with VAO Thessaloniki of the Greek League for 180 million lire for the rest of the season. This Geocities site had a nice write-up on Jeff Malone’s Greek experience:

When he arrived, VAO was the worse team in the Greek Championship and needed a few wins in order not to fall in the 2nd division. Malone helped more with his presence than with his game. His teammates seemed inspired and the team made more victories on the 2nd half of the season, including a great victory over Olympiakos (who won the European, the Greek Championship and the Greek Cup that year). Malone was not in shape though. At age 36 he was slow and except 1-2 good games, he was shooting a lot but not scoring much. He averaged 14.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1 assist shooting 39% from the field, 29% from the 3-point line and 76% in the free throws, in 12 games played. VAO, who desperately needed a super-scorer, left the division in the end of the year.

Coaching Career

Jeff Malone’s coaching career began in 1998 as an assistant with the Yakima Sun Kings of the Continental Basketball Association (CBA). The next season, he went on to be an assistant for the San Diego Stingrays of the International Basketball League (IBL), and was promoted to head coach during the season. In the following year, Malone went on to become head coach of the Trenton Stars, also of the IBL.

In 2001, Malone was afforded an opportunity with the newly created National Basketball Development League (NBDL) as head coach of the Columbus Riverdragons. During four seasons at the helm, Malone amassed a record of 102-98, winning the D-League regular season crown in ’04-’05, but losing to the Asheville Altitude in the finals.

After that season, the Riverdragons moved to Austin, Texas and became the Toros. Malone headed to Fort Myers to become head coach of the NBDL’s Florida Flame. Unfortunately, during the ’06-’07 season, the team had to suspend operations due to issues with their home arena and has not been an active member of the NBDL since. I assume this is about the time that Malone and his family packed up and moved to Arizona.

Jeff Malone Tid-Bits

  • At the 2002 SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament, Jeff Malone represented Mississippi State as an SEC Legend.
  • Jeff Malone was named to the 1981-1990 all-decade SEC basketball first team, along with Chris Jackson, Charles Barkley, Sam Bowie, and Dominique Wilkins.
  • A 1984 buzzer-beater that Malone hit against the Pistons when he was a rookie with the Bullets made it onto a NBA.com/History Channel list of the 10 greatest shots in NBA history. You can see the shot here on YouTube, it’s part of a longer clip and comes in about the 3:04 mark.
  • A 1999 Sports Illustrated series on the top 50 greatest sports figures from each state lists Jeff Malone as #43 from the state of Georgia.
  • A 1998 Sports Illustrated article, Paternity Ward, about athletes and out-of-wedlock kids cited Jeff Malone as being falsely accused of having a child with a former college lover. An excerpt from the article:
    • Certainly there have been false charges made against athletes. Former NBA All-Star Jeff Malone was the victim of a baseless paternity suit filed by a former college lover. Although genetic tests had proved he was not the father of the child, Malone says that on four or five occasions he saw the woman at his games, telling the child to wave at him. Eventually he submitted to a second round of tests to further disprove paternity and says he enlisted NBA security to prevent the woman from harassing him. “When she came up with the story, there was a big article, but when word got back that it wasn’t my child, there was a tiny article,” says Malone. “Mostly I felt bad for the kid.”
  • World B. Free once praised Malone by saying, “He reminds me of a young me.”
  • Jeff Malone has listed Darrell Walker, Delaney Rudd, and Felton Spencer as his favorite players he played with.
  • Michael Jordan & Jeff Malone – From Sports Illustrated in 1989: “If there’s a pattern in some of the teams that stop me,” says Jordan, “it’s that they make me play defense against a big, physical guard who runs off picks. Washington has Jeff Malone. Dallas has Rolando Blackman. Seattle has Dale Ellis. I can’t post these guys up that easily because they’re as big and strong as I am. I know Malone ‘s not supposed to be a good defensive player, but he comes after me.”
  • Jeff Malone is listed on page 103 in One Last Shot: The Story of Michael Jordan’s Comeback by Mitchell Krugel as a ‘Jordan Stopper’ along with Rolando Blackman, Kevin Johnson, and John Starks.
  • Former Bullet Darrell Walker once said, “Everybody has somebody they can not guard. Michael Jordan just couldn’t guard Jeff Malone. I was a point guard playing alongside Malone, and Jeff just killed Jordan. Jordan even wrote about it in his book.”
  • More evidence of the Michael Jordan-Jeff Malone battles, a quote from Hang Time: Days and dreams with Michael Jordan by Bob Greene in reference to a February 1992 triple-overtime game between the Chicago Bulls and the Utah Jazz. Malone only had 13 points that night, but the ball was in his hands at the end of the game and he led the Jazz to a 126-123 win:
    • But on the basketball court he’d [Michael Jordan] had a rare angry confrontation with a referee that had resulted in his being ejected from a game. It had taken place in Salt Lake City, near the end of a terrific triple-overtime contest against the Utah Jazz. As the clock was running down, Utah’s Jeff Malone drove for the basket and a foul was called on Jordan. Jordan exploded at referee Tommie Wood – he knew that Malone’s ensuing foul shot would win the game – and when Wood walked away from him, Jordan followed, arguing heatedly with Wood and, according to Wood, bumping into him. A technical foul was called on Jordan, he was thrown out and sent to the locker room, the Jazz did indeed win……..

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